Warning! Are you using the correct floor cleaner on your wood floors?

Chances are you have never been told or shown what to use to clean wood floors and you merely follow the labels you find in the supermarket or your best friend’s advice. As a result, most people end up using a floor cleaner that is totally unsuitable for their wood floors and wonder what has happened to their floors after a few months or years.

Beware of many proprietary brands claiming to be wood floor / laminate floor cleaners as they may be leaving a wax, polish or other residue on your floor which builds up into a thick brown crust over time. These should be stripped off regularly but the manufacturers forget to tell you this.
There are things called spray and buff used by commercial cleaners which leave heavy polish build ups.

If its a wax then you will find your floors scuffing easily and even squeaking when you walk on them.
If its polish they could end up looking like this:


To remove this type of residue requires specialised strippers and lots of hand scraping:

Your friends may have told you to use dishwashing liquid or vinegar. Generally dishwashing liquid leaves streaks and can damage oil finishes whilst vinegar has been shown to soften and damage the floor finish, especially if not diluted sufficiently. This can result in the floor losing its sheen, at best, or even peeling off in the worst case.

The only thing that should be used to clean finished wooden floors of any kind is a neutral pH floor cleaner.

If you did chemistry at school will recall that the PH scale is used to determined how acidic or alkaline different solutions are. This scale goes from 0-14. Right in the middle is 7 which is neutral, anything below 7 is acidic whilst 7 is considered alkaline.

Alkaline solutions are better at cutting through dirt, grease, protein, oils and other organic items. Acids are better for removing calcium, rust, and other minerals. Strong alkalines used as everyday cleaning products would be bleach, drain or oven cleaners and you know how they can damage things if not used carefully. Vinegar and lemon juice are both acidic at the other end of the scale although not as damaging as swimming pool acid is.

The recommended cleaning regime for any wooden floor is to ensure that it is swept daily in order to remove dust, sand, or stones that get walked onto the floor by pets and shoes. Use a microfiber mop rather than a brush which tends to stir dust up into the air. Damp cleaning should be done as and when required – use a damp cloth, wrung out mop and a small amount of warm water with suitable neutral cleaner – do not wet mop any wooden floor.

Further points to look at in order to keep your wood floors looking good are to ensure that all movable furniture items are fitted with floor protector pads and make sure you have a mat at all entrances from outsides to help catch all those stones and sand on your shoes; in many parts of the world, people take off their shoes when they come into their home and leave them at the door. They wear slippers or socks on their prized wood floors.

Protect high wear areas such as in front of the couch where you watch TV – frequent scuffing of your feet during those soccer matches and rugby games the floor here, watch out for turning points at the bottom of the stairs or at entry/exit points from the kitchen, front door etc and down the passage. Consider using a carpet runner in these high wear areas to further protect your floor.

If you see wear occurring in these areas, call in the experts to attend to this before it becomes necessary to re-sand the entire floor. If you see polish build ups around the edges of your floors or just think that you have a problem, stop using what you have in the cupboard and call for advice before its too late.

Let your floors be brighter and cleaner.

For further help or advice on your wood floors, contact Mr Sandless on 0860 Sandless (0860 7263 5377) or at